At the Writing Center, we believe writers at all levels benefit from feedback on their work. Even expert writers do their best work when they are supported by other writers and actively seek to improve their practice. Below are a resources on the craft and process of writing, as well as reference resources that you may fine helpful.
- There are few writing resources as clear and comprehensive as Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), which offers a wealth of resources in a searchable format.
- Critical thinking skills are essential for academic writers. Throughout the writing process you will be testing your own ideas and engaging with the ideas of others. This page from the University of Louisville Libraries focuses on the link between research and critical thinking. It includes questions to ask yourself during the research process, guidance on drawing conclusions, and things to consider as you construct your arguments.
- Sometimes, you just want to look at a book—in order to get energized, to be inspired, or to answer some questions about writing, revision, citing, etc. Below are a few books that students and faculty have found useful. The AUNE Library also has many other books on writing and research.
- A Pocket Style Manual, by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers
- A Writer’s Reference, by Diana Hacker
- Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O’Connor
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, by the APA
- They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
- The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White
- Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, by Roy Peter Clark
- How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, by Paul J. Silvia
- If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit, by Brenda Ueland
Beginning the writing process is often one of the most difficult steps. You can make an appointment with the Writing Center for any aspect of this, including interpreting the assignment, brainstorming your approach, outlining based on your research, laying out your key points, planning your work, and more.
- If you are wondering how to approach a piece of larger writing, here is a Sample Timeline for Writing a Paper, by John Dunham and Rachel Sperling
- If you are struggling to map your concepts, check out this tip sheet on Organizing Ideas before You Write, by Molly Conley.
Most any piece of writing needs an appropriate organization and structure. Usually this structure arises from a focus or thesis statement, developing that idea throughout the work with supporting points, logical arguments, inferences, polemics, etc. Writers must also clarify the structure for their audience using tools such as transitions, section headings, sub-headings, guiding themes, and rational ordering of material. The Writing Center is happy to help with any part of this, and developing a clear structure early in the writing process often means a better paper at the end.
- If you are wondering how to frame a focus or thesis statement, check out this handout on Thesis Statements, by Cindy Snow.
We at the Writing Center, like many writers, consider a draft to be a starting point rather than an ending. This is often the point where feedback from others becomes critical. Many of us clarify our ideas in the writing of a first draft, so getting feedback on that draft helps us better express those ideas for an audience. When revising their work, writers must pay close attention to clarity, organization, paragraph structure, relevance to their topic, and, of course, sentence structure and editing
- For help shortening wordy sentences, read this handout on Writing Concisely, by Michael Nork.
- If you want a broader picture of revision and a sample process, check out A Checklist for Revision, by John Dunham.
Proper integration of source material goes far beyond just using correct citations. Writers must ensure that they are properly characterizing the authors they are citing, using quotes for a particular benefit, paraphrasing material where appropriate, and transitioning smoothly between their own material and the words of others.
- If you are wondering how to introduce a quotation, you can read A Guide to Signal Phrases, by Leslie Wilson.
- For help expressing another writer’s thought in your own words, try using A Short Guide to Paraphrasing, by Tracy Bartella.
- Managing many citations in a large document can be challenging, but you can use free citation management software to streamline the process. One option to consider is Zotero, which can interface with Firefox and Word to grab citations during your research and also function as a standalone. If you just want to generate the correct citation form for a given resource, check out Son of Citation Machine, which runs online rather than being installed on your computer.
- For more links and guidance, visit the AUNE Library tutorials page, which includes help with citations and research, and the citations and bibliographies section, which provides information on APA, MLA, CSE, and ConBio citation formats.
APA Style is recommended by Antioch University and required by many AUNE programs. The Writing Center tutors are happy to help you with questions about APA style generally, give you some guidance on writing within the format, or help you look up esoteric aspects of the style. Remember that not all programs and classes use every part of APA style, so be sure to check with your professor and program guidebook for your particular requirements.
- If you are just getting used to writing in APA Style, this tutorial covers the key components.
- For answers to particular APA questions, the Purdue OWL on APA is a good place to start.
- If you are using an older version of the APA manual, this official APA resource explains the most recent updates.
Correct grammar may be the least important part of a solid piece of academic writing, but it is still important. Although the Writing Center will not proofread your paper for you, we are happy to go over grammatical rules and concerns and help you understand the correct usages. If you find yourself making consistent grammatical errors, tutors can help you recognize and fix those errors in your work.
- If you have difficulty recognizing and avoiding passive voice in your writing, read this handout on Active and Passive Voice, Active and Passive Verbs, by Tracy Bartella
- If you aren’t sure how to use commas in long sentences, check out Avoiding Comma Splices (and Fused or Run-on Sentences), by John Dunham
- If you find yourself struggling with articles, you might be interested in A Tip Sheet for Using The English Articles, by John Dunham
The Writing Center offers feedback on the composition, organization, and polishing of multiple types of presentation aid. These include Power Point and Open Office slides, Prezi layouts, associated handouts, and presentation notes. As with writing a paper, presenters need to consider their audience, clarity, language, structure of ideas, and use of varied material.
- For general guidance on presenting, visit NCBI’s Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations.
- Wondering how to design better presentations? Check out Garr Reynolds’ blog, Presentation Zen, and his book of the same name (available in the AUNE library). You can also read his Top Ten Slide Tips.
- If you’re looking for some examples of more innovative slide design, check out this archive of templates. It also has instructions for creating similar effects on your own.
You can bring your resume, cover letter, or C.V. to the Writing Center for feedback on composition, presentation, language, job descriptions, and more. We can offer help customizing the jobs you include, designing resumes along multiple styles, and making sure you are emphasizing your most relevant experience.
- For additional guidance on designing your resume and customizing it to a particular job, check out the Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s guidance on resume design.
- My Career Planner, an AU resource, provides a step-by-step description of the job search process. You may be particularly interested in its skills assessments, tips on keeping organized, and interview guidance. A short video tutorial provides an overview of what’s available on the site. To access this resource, log into AUDirect and click on the My Career Planner icon.